The Fine Line Between Skincare and Cosmetics

According to Global Industry Analysts, Inc., the global color cosmetics market is expected to reach $41.4 billion by 2015. Plastic Surgery Practice reports that main driver in growing cosmetic sales is the use of skincare components in makeup and related products.

The color cosmetic industry is gaining power during the recession through innovation. Formulators are creating increasingly sophisticated cosmetics that offer the benefits of UV protection, anti-aging, moisturizing and long-lasting effects. The delineation between skincare and makeup is continuing to fade as a result. Consumers can no longer differentiate between skincare products that have undergone rigorous clinical trials and cosmetics that simply contain skincare properties.

With the growing popularity of the green movement, cosmetics are beginning to include organic and natural plant extracts—such as vitamin E—as a way to increase consumer demand. Whole Foods recently decided to take control in ensuring that the cosmetics on their shelves measure up to the set standards for ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ products. While the USDA has strict classifications for ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ food, their definitions for skincare and makeup are not so clear. The USDA also has less control over the cosmetic industry, which allows companies to inaccurately market their products as a way to capitalize on the green movement.

Foundations and powders, which were once made of heavy opaque pigments, are now incorporating minerals and crystals, such as topaz and rose quartz, as a way to create the illusion of perfect skin without the cakey makeup look. Mineral blend makeup was once only available through high-end cosmetic lines such as Jane Iredale. Nowadays, one can walk into the drug store and nearly every brand on the shelf has some variation of a mineral-based product.

Cosmeceuticals, or cosmetic products containing skincare properties, are taking overwhelming control of the market. Lipsticks are now enriched with vitamins A, C and E; foundations contain SPF; and day creams contain ant-aging components. As the line between cosmetics and skincare gets thinner, it will be interesting to see how the boundaries of the FDA’s control will adapt.

To Your Health & Beauty,

Kent V. Hasen, M.D.

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